In the smallest surprise this season, Wayne Rooney wants to leave Manchester United.
Ferguson rode Rooney like a Blackpool donkey all last season. He has always been more determined to make him earn his fee rather than nurture his talents. Ferguson's bungling of the Tevez affair was symptomatic of his loss of grip. Rooney would be far happier under Arsene Wenger for a few seasons.
Rooney is definitely one of the best talents of the last ten years. But it hasn't been on display consistently in its complete version for two seasons. But even when not scoring his vision and passing was worth the admission. But now even that's faltering, and his chronic Keeper-itis in front of goal has got worse, if anything.
If Rooney is a busted flush, it just goes to prove that talent like that cannot be industrialised. And you cannot expect lads who have just finished growing to cope with the physical demands of a premiership season and retain their unique combination of skills and instincts and reflexes. Their Joy in the game. And so god help young Wilshire. 'Though at least he doesn't have Ferguson as the monkey on his back.
Anyone who appreciates football will admit that even in the slough of the World Cup despond, Rooney was still able to spark. But years of putting this thoroughbred between the shafts of the milk cart have done their job. The attention of the media did the rest. If the media had kept their noses out of other people's business, England would have had a team worth supporting in South Africa. They would at least have had the captain who saw them waltz through the group with Wayne Rooney on top form. And tomorrow's Sun will see some dumbass shot of a Spud lookalike posing with a flamenco dancer. Stability doesn't sell papers. Crises sell papers. I hope they're happy.
If he does go, Barcelona would be the making of him. But even a spell at Blackpool would put the roses back in his cheeks, which is all he needs. A reminder of the joy of football.